Funding success for social sciences PhD network

Vital funding has been secured for an Edinburgh-based network that empowers social scientists to address some of society’s most pressing challenges.

sssg press conference
The SGSSS gathers once a year for its Collaboration Showcase, where partner organisations meet Scotland's social science community

Significant backing from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) will enable the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) to deliver ambitious, dynamic and effective support.

Graduate researchers from 14 higher education institutions across Scotland can access studentship funding and take advantage of flexible training and development opportunities tailored to the needs of individual students. 

The SGSSS also helps social scientists put their research into practice via internships and related skills development with a student-centred approach.

The new funding will seek to build on the success of the current Doctoral Training Partnership – an existing alliance between the ESRC and the SGSSS, with long standing support from the Scottish Funding Council. SGSSS was launched in 2017 and built on the previous Centre for Doctoral Training. 

The partnership has so far awarded in excess of 500 social science PhD studentships and provided more than 700 days of training.

Research with Impact

The new training network will focus on the difference PhD student research can make across a range of areas including social inequalities, health and wellbeing within communities and the societal effects of environmental change.  

The work of students supported by SGSSS have brought significant benefits to society, include raising awareness of financial abuse in relationships and the first UK-wide study of the possible future demand for old-age care.

UK’s biggest

The SGSSS is the biggest of the UK’s 15 ESRC-funded doctoral training partnerships, which will span 89 institutions over the next five years.

Five years of PhD studentship intake will begin in October 2024. The aim is to continue to support 54students a year.

SGSSS Director Professor Graeme Nixon said: “This is a fantastic investment in the future of research in Scotland, which will benefit all sectors and industries, and contribute significantly to tackling global societal challenges.”

ESRC Executive Chair Stian Westlake said: 

“Our vision for postgraduate training is that it will develop globally competitive social science researchers who can operate in interdisciplinary, collaborative, and challenge-led environments across a range of sectors and who have a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. 

“This redesigned and expanded doctoral training opportunity will enhance the experience for PhD students and boost the UK’s capability.”

Related links

Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

Economic and Social Research Council

Photo credit: Chris Scott Photography Dundee